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Der Weg zur Integration? Die Rolle der selbständigen Erwerbstätigkeit von Migrantinnen und Migranten in der Schweiz (Acronym: EthnicBusiness)

English title The Way to Integration? The Role of Self-employment in Integration Processes of Migrants in Switzerland (Acronym: EthnicBusiness)
Applicant Suter Christian
Number 69098
Funding scheme NRP 51 Social Integration and Social Exclusion
Research institution Institut de sociologie et de sciences politiques Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Humanities and Social Sciences
Start/End 01.07.2003 - 31.07.2006
Approved amount 262'575.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Humanities and Social Sciences

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Self-employment as a way to integration?

To what extent does self-employment facilitate or hinder integration or exclusion processes of persons of foreign origin in Switzerland? The reasons why immigrants choose self-employment and the resulting consequences of that decision are being investigated in this study.

Self-employment is being promoted as a possible measure to counteract unemployment among immigrants in Switzerland. At the same time, the number of self-employed immigrants has increased in recent years. In contrast to other countries in Europe, in Switzerland we know very little about companies that are run by persons from other countries of origin. There is a lack of research on the question of why immigrants choose to start their own businesses and whether the move to self-employment fosters integration processes or whether it is an expression of increasing precarious existence of immigrants.

Aim and method
The project aims to explore the role of self-employment in processes of integration and exclusion of immigrants. Of particular interest are differences between men and women and between first and second-generation immigrants. The project links quantitative and qualitative methods of empirical social research. The database for the quantitative part of the study is the Swiss Labour Force Survey of 2001 and 2003. With the aid of these data, the characteristics of self-employed immigrants and their businesses will be examined. The qualitative part of the study bases upon biographical interviews and analyses of social networks.

The research findings will provide a basis for designing appropriate measures to support immigrants that would like to start their own businesses or that are already self-employed. The goal is to support their move into self-employment and to prevent precarization. Moreover, the project will increase awareness of the importance of businesses in integration processes. As ethnic businesses are often important information hubs for other immigrants, they could serve as suitable sites for integration projects. The research findings will clarify a phenomenon that is gaining increasing social importance, but has hardly been studied in Switzerland to date.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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